As per the Statement 12 of the Interim Union Budget 2024-25, children related programmesreceived a total allocation of INR 109493.08 Crore, a 5.49 per cent increase as compared to the allocations in Union Budget 2023-24 at BE stage. In the Union Budget 2023-24, children related programmes received total allocation of INR 103790.70 Crore.

While the total volume of Union Budget (interim) 2024-25 grew by 5.84 per cent at BE stage, the budget for children observed a growth of 5.49 per cent in the
Union Budget 2024-25.

However, when analysed in terms of share of the Budget for Children (BfC) in the total Union Budget 2024-25, it has remained at 2.30 per cent. Children received the same share of financial resources in the Union Budget 2023-24 as well While almost all the government advertisements, speeches by political leaders and ministers (including the Budget Speech of 2024-25) constantly remind us of our country entering into Amrit Kaal and committing for Viksit Bharat, it is poignant to see whether children are included in this envisioning or not.

The trend of share of children in the Union Budgets over the years could be one of the yardstick to analyse the contention of Amrit Kaal and Viksit Bharat for children. In the last 11 years, the share of children in the Union Budget has been on a downhill. The maximum share of 4.52 per cent was allocated in 2014-15 and now in the current fiscal year, it has come down to 2.30 percent..

The sectoral break-up of resource allocation reflects the priorities of the Government. Traditionally, child protection has always remained at the backseat of the resource allocation and in the interim Union Budget 2024-25 as well, child protection received only 0.04 per cent of the total budget and subsequently, the share of child protection within the Budget for Children (BfC) remains at 1.64 per cent. This must be seen in the backdrop of growing child protection concerns. As per the Crime in India Report, 2022, a total of 162449 incidences of crimes against children were recorded, which is 8.73 per cent increase than the previous year.

National Child Labour Project (NCLP) is one of the flagship schemes for rehabilitation of child labourers through District Project Societies under the Chairmanship of the District Magistrate. In the interim Union Budget 2024-25, NCLP programme has received no allocation.

The allocation for Mission Vatsalya has remained unchanged in the interim Union Budget 2024-25 with total allocation of ₹1472.17 Crore. The Ministry of Women and Child Development has revised the guidelines under Mission Vatsalya in 2022 and all the States and UTs have signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Central Govt. The number of children supported under Non-Institutional Care has been increasing during the last few years i.e. 26084 children covered in 2019-20, 29337 children in 2020-21, 29338 children in 2021-22 and 62675 children in 2022-23. Yet, the unchanged allocation for the scheme remain a cause of concern.

As we are looking ahead to the new Government and a full-fledged Union Budget in July 2024, this interim Union Budget is a statement of intent of the Government. It also reflects that children have a very little space in the idea of Viksit Bharat and Amrit Kaal. The downward trend of children’s share in the Union Budget (over the years) remain a cause of concern. If the Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved in the stipulated timeline, then the trend of financial resource allocation for children need to adopt an upward trend and then only ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas’ can be ensured.

About HELP:

HELP is a voluntary organisation mentoring VIMUKTHI (A State level forum of sex workers and survivors of trafficking) in its mission for socio-economic empowerment of sex workers and survivors of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. HELP is working over two decades for the prevention of human trafficking and also protection and welfare of women and children in vulnerable conditions in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

For any clarifications please contact – Mr. Nimmaraju Ram Mohan @ 99497 23666 Mr Bhaskar – Programme Manager – HELP @ 9949688014